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San Diego voters are by now long familiar with so-called independent political committees, financed in large part by a variety of big money mystery donors.

Many of the efforts are organized under federal law as 501 c(4) non-profits, and therefore don't have to disclose where their money comes from.

These have included former Democratic state senator Steve Peace's non-profit Independent Voter Project.

Says the IVP website:

The Independent Voter Project (IVP) is a non-profit, non-partisan (501(c)4) organization dedicated to better informing voters about important public policy issues and to encouraging non-partisan voters to participate in the electoral process.

IVP was founded in 2006 by a group lead by Co-Chairman Steve Peace.

As a former member of the legislature and as the State’s Finance Director, Mr. Peace saw the increased polarization of public policy debate and decisions and imagined a process by which those voters and citizens who had become increasingly disenfranchised and disillusioned by the public decision-making process could again become active participants.

Similar but a bit different is icPurple, an independent expenditure committee set up by La Jolla computer magnate Ted Waitt when ex-GOP Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher turned independent after the local Republican party failed to endorse him for mayor last year.

The group ran a series of TV ads for Fletcher and a few other independent candidates around the country featuring children mixing red and blue paint.

Because it is registered as a federal campaign committee backing specific candidates, icPurple has to disclose its money sources, which have included a bevy of San Diego fat cats, including self-styled master of the human genome Craig Venter from La Jolla.

Other donors have included Duane Roth, now involved in setting up a group to draft Fletcher, who has since turned Democrat, to run for mayor if besieged Bob Filner steps down or is ousted.

According to its latest disclosure report with the Federal Election Commission, filed June 20 and covering the month of May, a host of wealthy real estate and investment types kicked in for the cause, including real estate mogul and Point Loma Republican donor Malin Burnham, with a cool $25,000 on May 23; Anaheim's Greg Miller of Miller Environmental, Inc. ($10,000); and La Jollan Michael R. Stone of Freestyle Capital ($10,000).

Also, Dane Chapin of Zephyr Partners ($5000); La Jolla real estate woman Nancy Saikhon Borrelli ($5000); CONNECT CEO Duane Roth ($1500); Michael Barone of Intercare Insurance Solutions ($1500); Qualcomm executive vice president Margaret Johnson of Rancho Santa Fe ($1500); Dennis Cruzan, onetime real estate sidekick to Padres owner John Moores ($1000); and Ace Parking's Keith Jones ($1000).

The latest self-proclaimed nonpartisan advocacy group with at least one known tie to San Diego politics is a Washington, D.C.-based outfit called "No Labels."

According to its website:

No Labels is a growing citizens’ movement of Democrats, Republicans and independents dedicated to promoting a new politics of problem solving. We are unlike any organization in America.

The most powerful interest groups in our nation’s capital work to push our leaders and our political parties apart. No Labels is working to bring them together to forge solutions to our nation’s problems.

We welcome people left, right and everything in between as long as they are willing to collaborate with one another to seek a shared success for America. This new attitude is what No Labels is all about.

The site goes on to say that the effort is "funded by a fast-growing base of 7,000 donors -- some big, most small, but all with the same voice."

And who might they be? Says the site:

We do not publicly identify the names of our donors because it is not legally required and because it doesn't advance our core mission.

Fronted by Utah Republican ex-governor John Huntsman and West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, and backed by former Democratic president Bill Clinton, No Labels is staging a big event today in Washington to announce its new legislative package.

The Make Government Work! package includes legislation that would withhold congressional pay if Congress doesn't agree on a budget; consolidate GAO-identified duplicative, fragmented and overlapping programs; and cut federal agency travel budget by 50 percent.

A news release from No Labels says its "full List of Problem Solvers" features 37 Republicans, 1 Independent, and 43 Democrats, including San Diego House freshman Scott Peters, locked in a heated re-election race with GOP ex-San Diego city councilman Carl DeMaio.

The Republican has drawn intensive scrutiny by San Diego State University's broadcast operation, KPBS, for allegedly questionable fundraising activities.

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Comments

Founder July 18, 2013 @ 12:35 p.m.

As time goes bye,

It seems that $an Diego is a much more fitting name, for the place that we all once knew as San Diego...

Public discussion has morphed into little more than sound bites and infomercials!

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